State and Trait Brain Function in Depression

State and Trait Brain Function in Depression

Peter Forster Basic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

Understanding the neurobiology of depression involves more than just knowing about serotonin, we need to know how state and trait brain function in depression is different from brain functioning in those who have never had a major depression. State and trait are key concepts in understanding psychiatric conditions: state refers to those alterations in functioning that occur when someone is …

Transmission of Distress Across Generations

Peter Forster Basic Science, Other Psychiatric Disorders, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

Transmission of Distress Across Generations Based on Epigenetic Changes Researchers looking at victims of severe trauma, such as concentration camp survivors, have long known that the effects of these events are transmitted in some fashion to the children and even the children’s children. The mechanism of this transmission has usually been assumed to be based on changes in parenting behavior …

Reduced Gene Expression in Reward Center is Linked to Depression

Peter Forster Basic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

Researchers from the University of Maryland have conducted a series of experiments in mice and humans leading them to conclude that reduced gene expression in the reward center is linked to depression. Specifically, the researchers found that there was reduced expression of the Slc6a15 gene in the brains of people with major depression who committed suicide, and that expression of this …

Brain Response to Stress in Depression

Brain Response to Stress in Depression

Peter Forster Basic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

A study looking at the brain response to stress in depression offers important clues about changes in brain function that may be associated with vulnerability to depression and what happens when a vulnerable individual becomes depressed. Researchers looked at brain activity using functional MRI in three groups of people: people with untreated first episode major depression, people with a history …

Depression Biology and Treatment

Peter Forster Anxiety, Basic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology, Treatments of Depression

New research on depression biology and treatment highlights the rapid increase in knowledge in this area in the last decade. In this post we will summarize some of these research findings briefly. This brief tour will take us to a newly discovered protein that may be a vital link between stress and depression. A genome wide search for changes associated …

Norepinephrine dopamine and depression

Peter Forster Basic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology, Treatments of Depression

In an elegant set of studies published in February 2016 in Nature Neuroscience the team of Bruno Giros, a researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University, reports the first-ever connection between noradrenergic neurons and vulnerability to depression. The study involved research using probably the most well developed animal model for depression – chronic or …

Beta Catenin and Depression

Peter Forster Basic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology

Beta catenin is a molecule that may play a key role in preventing depression in those exposed to stress, at least if mice and humans share the same biology. Beta catenin is involved in a number of quite different functions in the cell. To give you an idea, it may be involved in the development of cancer (it is a …

Exercise and Stress – How Exercise Prevents Depression

Peter Forster Major Depression, Physical Conditions and Health, Treatments of Depression

Exercise seems to reduce stress. But how does this work? And what about exercise effects on depression? An article in the New York Times summarizes a recent publication in the journal Cell which may explain how exercise prevents depression. A wealth of research shows that regular exercise reduces the risk of depression. A very large study in Britain, for example, suggested that …

Cortisol and Depression

Peter Forster Psychobiology

A middle aged man with depression came in today for his first psychiatric evaluation. He had lots of questions about the relationship between cortisol and depression, because his first serious depression, at age 45, occurred in the context of a severe work stress. And this work stress was associated with many physical manifestations of stress – fatigue, severely disrupted sleep, …